After the passing of the Third-Party Taxi Booking Service Providers Act earlier last month, what’s next on the horizon for private car services?
Well, it seems they might have their work cut out for them: the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that they are considering making it mandatory for drivers who operate under services like Uber and GrabTaxi’s GrabCar to obtain vocational licenses. This requirement is currently only applicable to taxi drivers, according to a report by The Straits Times.
The LTA is said to be contemplating this measure in a bid to ensure commuter safety and interests. This is thanks, in large part, to the rise of such services in recent years. Another factor which might have been the driving factor behind the LTA’s move is the furore which broke out when it was revealed that ride-matching apps and car rental companies have been teaming up to offer taxi-like services to passengers.
It’s not only commuters — who enjoy a greater number of avenues through which they can hire rides — who benefit under such arrangements: drivers get to rent cars at much cheaper rates than taxis, and they don’t have to undergo time-consuming and cost-incurring training sessions before they are allowed to take to the roads.
I, for one, am skeptical about how useful it would be for LTA to implement such a law. Considering how most private car services already have rating systems in place to ensure that drivers stay safe and treat passengers fairly, requiring them to undergo additional training seems a bit much.
The move is also likely to deter individuals who are considering taking up driving jobs on the side —something that more people are turning to to supplement their incomes.
And with such services offering me more options when it comes to travelling around the city, the last thing I want is for unnecessary regulations to slowly force them out of the market.